Joe Biden has become the first President of the United States to speak of the massacre of Armenians a century ago in what is now Turkey as a genocide, announcing what could spark a conflict between Washington and Ankara.
Commenting on the announcement, issued by the White House to commemorate Armenia’s Day of Remembrance, a senior government official said the declaration was made “in honor of the victims” and not “in guilt.”
Biden called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to inform him of this in advance, a government official said. At the White House in a reading of the summons between Biden and Erdogan, which was their first alliance, he did not name part of the talks, but said the two leaders had met for a double meeting at the end of the Nato summit in June.
The recognition of Biden follows a bitter cold season between Washington and Ankara following Turkey’s purchase of anti-aircraft weapons designed to shoot Nato planes, as well as a lawsuit against the US government against Turkey. Halkbank for violating sanctions against Iran.
Biden’s general manager said the calls between the two leaders were “very professional”.
“The two leaders have a long history, having worked together for a long time under the Obama-Biden regime,” he said, adding that there were “many issues” in which Washington and Ankara could work together, as well as “significant differences. . . what needs to be addressed ”.
Erdogan has said he wants to “turn a new page” with the US and Europe, two of Turkey’s main trading partners, as the country seeks to attract money from its $ 717bn economy and restore inflation and unemployment.
Many historians and about 30 countries condemn the massacre of about 1.5m Armenian Christians since 1915 as a government assassination. Turkey’s claim that all Muslims and Christians have died during the turmoil of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Terrified by their archenemy in Russia, Armenian Christians were mobilized and possibly killed or traveled from their native Turkey today to the Syrian desert where they starved to death. The campaign, along with anti-Greek and Assyrian anti-Assyrian sects, helped establish a well-known state when Turkey was founded in 1923 from Ottoman ash.
Former US leaders have stopped the killings, recognizing the dangers that could lead to good relations with Turkey, where the US operates. A spokesman for Biden said the US still accepted Turkey as a “critical ally of Nato”.
However, Biden said he would abide by foreign policy and promised during his presidency that he would recognize the assassination as part of a commitment to upholding “international freedom”. Both Congress congressional hearings in 2019 were divided into killings, and last month nearly 40 filmmakers from both sides called on Biden to do the same.
For many in Turkey, acknowledging the assassination would undermine the founding beliefs and leaders of their nation and would be tantamount to acknowledging ancient falsehoods. While Erdogan has in recent years talked about apologizing to the Armenian people for his death, he also spoke to foreign governments that call for mass killings, remembrance of ambassadors and a ban on trade deals.
Today, about 60,000 Armenians live in Turkey, mainly in Istanbul, and from time to time, they are involved in corruption, such as the destruction of churches. In 2007 Hrant Dink, editor of the Armenian-Turkish newspaper, was shot dead outside his office after calling for cooperation between the Turkish people and Armenia.
Turkey’s strong support for Azerbaijan in the last war against Armenia confirmed the fact that the old divisions continue to form Ankara’s policies in the region. Ankara donated weapons and, according to the UN, Syrian troops to help a close friend Azerbaijan the occupation of many of Armenia’s most successful war zones in the 1990’s.
Since then, Erdogan has been pushing for the restoration of relations with poor Armenia, with which Turkey has not cooperated after the border crossing in 1993 over opposition to Azerbaijan. Media reports suggest that Turkey may now retaliate against Biden’s bosses for killing the men by punishing Armenia and maintaining any alliance.